Pam Boteler - American

canoe kayak paddlesports world paddle awards golden spa sportscene pam boteler usa

Pamela Boteler - Member of the World Paddle Awards Academy

One of the most respected athletes in U.S. paddling history-books, Pam Boteler has achieved some incredible milestones in her career. An exceptionally talented athlete, advocate, philanthropist and motivational speaker, she has been making waves on and off the water since 2000.

Pam made USA Canoe/Kayak history at the 2000 National Sprint Canoe/Kayak Championships by becoming the first woman to compete in canoe sprint – against the men - and winning gold and bronze medals in the men’s Intermediate classes (women were not permitted to compete at the National level prior to 2000). Women were required to race against men again in 2001; she competed in 7 events and won gold in the Men’s C4 1000m event.  

In 2002, influenced by her success on the water and lobbying off the water, USA Canoe/Kayak changed its by-laws to allow women to compete at the National Championships in events of their own – in all age and boat categories, equal to the men. Finally, U.S. women sprint canoeists had a league of their own, following the path of Canada, which was the first country in the world to include women’s canoe events at their national championships in 1995, thanks, in large part, to the efforts of pioneering Canoeist Sheila Kuyper. 

Pam’s 10 year sprint canoe career (2000-2010) had several additional highlights:

  • She was also the first woman to compete in Canoe (C1) at the U.S. National Marathon Canoe/Kayak National Team Trials.
  • Pam raced against the men in 2002 and 2003 in the 30km marathon events and her presence alone forced a conversation about women being prevented from participating at the ICF Marathon World Championships in Canoe.  
  • She took part in 3 ICF World Championships, including the women’s canoe exhibition début in 2003 and again in 2009.  She competed in the 2010 World Championship exhibition event in C2.
  • Pam was a participant at the first World Cup (Vichy) to offer women’s canoe as an official event (C1).   
  • She competed in 5 Pan American Championships - 2001, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010.  
  • In total, Pam won 11 international medals, 32 U.S. National Championship medals, was undefeated in the women’s C1 1000, 500 & 200m events (2000-2008) and still holds several U.S. women’s canoe records in various classes/distances.

Pam retired from canoe sprint in 2010, aged 42. Her paddling career spans over 21 years and includes several Dragonboat and Swanboat World Championships, Hawaiian outrigger canoeing, sprint kayaking, marathon canoeing.

Off the water, Pam has worked tirelessly on Women’s Canoe advocacy since 2001 - she is President of WomenCAN International, global voice for inclusion of and equality for women in Olympic Canoeing, ensuring women and girls around the world have the same opportunities and access as the men, and promoting the expansion of Canoesport in general.

In addition, Pam has nearly 25 years of experience working full-time for the U.S. Federal Government in “good governance” areas such as: strategic planning, program/project management, performance measurement, communications with the U.S. Congress amongst many others.

She currently works for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) as a Program Manager in leadership learning and development.

Graduating 2012 from the DoD Executive Leadership Development Program, she focused on helping military service members and their families heal and recover from physical, mental and emotional wounds of war and thrive in life while reintegrating back into civilian society.

Inspiringly, Pam has been a volunteer and donor for Team River Runner, a non-profit which offers healing kayaking programs for wounded, ill or injured service members and their families. Some of these athletes may be competing in the 2016 Paralympics, when paracanoe/kayak makes its first appearance.

Nowadays, Pam still trains and competes in various paddling disciplines whilst also trying her hand at surfski!

Follow women’s canoe activity via and on Facebook.


comments powered by Disqus